App Teaches Machinists About Software

Learning Zone app released for Android provides e-learning experience for CAD/CAM software.

A shop floor can be a hazardous place for a computer. Whether metal shavings infiltrate the keyboard or cutting fluid spray gets into the cooling fan, computers can suffer serious damage in this environment.

However, the need for technology in machining shops is increasing. As more and more of the manufacturing industry turns to automation, the need for proper training increases as well.

These days, most training is provided by easily-damaged computers.

When Delcam announced that it was turning Learning Zone, its online database of tutorial videos for its various software offerings, into a free app for iPad, it made sense. Basing the tutorial videos on a tablet platform meant that learning materials could be used on shop floors without the hassle of print manuals and with relatively little damage to the device.

However, not everyone has an iPad.

To solve that problem, Delcam recently announced a version of its Learning Zone app for Android 2.3 and higher.

The app is free from the Google Play Store, so I decided to download it and test it out.

The Good

Delcam's Learning Zone app for Android lets users stream, download and filter video tutorials for its CAD/CAM software. (Image courtesy of Delcam.)

Delcam’s Learning Zone app for Android lets users stream, download and filter video tutorials for its CAD/CAM software. (Image courtesy of Delcam.)

The first thing I noticed about the app is the sheer number of videos it contains. Learning Zone features tutorials for most of Delcam’s software. This includes PowerMILL, PowerSHAPE and PowerINSPECT, just to name a few.

Videos can be streamed online or downloaded and then viewed offline depending on Internet availability and quality. The app lets the user filter these videos by software product on the vertical side menu.

The horizontal top menu offers the user more options to filter videos. It features an “Industry” tab, a “Tutorial” tab and a “Favorites” tab where the user can mark preferred or relevant videos for easy return access. It also features an “About” tab where users can remind themselves about the app itself.

The Bad

Delcam’s Learning Zone app is still a fairly new release and of course, new software is never bug-free.

While both the side menu and the top menu are perfectly functional, the main window featuring the video selection pages is a little slow to respond. The pages will scroll smoothly, but there seems to be a slight coding bug inhibiting consistent page scrolling.

The exact cause couldn’t be determined without looking at the code, but it appears to be a fairly small bug that would be easy to fix in future updates.

The Bottom Line

It has an issue or two, but all things considered, the Delcam Learning Zone app is a neat little tool. It offers the user an ability to keep learning materials on a tablet or a phone – a portable, easily accessible medium better suited to a shop floor than a full computer would be.

It would be useful both for current customers and for potential customers to learn about Delcam’s range of CAD/CAM software.

For more information, visit the Delcam website.